Jon Fitch and the 15 Greatest MMA Fighters to Never Win a Championship
In MMA's welterweight division, Jon Fitch has tangled with some of the best that the weight class has had to offer.
Up until recently, Fitch was widely considered the second-best fighter in the division, just behind UFC champion Georges St-Pierre, given the AKA fighter's level of success against world-renowned opposition.
Despite all of his accolades, Fitch, along with a batch of other fighters, has yet to earn a major world title, something that has haunted these fighters' careers for some time.
Coveted as the best of the Gracie clan, Rickson began his mixed martial arts career in 1980 in his native Brazil. Years later, the submission specialist would find himself in the first-ever Pride event in 1997, where he submitted the ultra-popular pro wrestler Nobuhiko Takada.
Gracie retired undefeated in 2000 with a 11-0 record, having submitted all of his opponents along the way.
Having fought in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, Hidehiko Yoshida has tangled with some of the best fighters in the world and is widely recognized as a legend of the sport.
Yoshida made an emphatic MMA debut in 2002 when the Olympic judoka submitted UFC veteran Don Frye.
Victories over Tank Abbott, Mark Hunt, Satoshi Ishii and former UFC champion Maurice Smith also anchor the résumé of the Japanese fighter.
An early pioneer of the sport, Erikson entered MMA in 1997 on the heels of a successful collegiate wrestling career that saw "The Big Cat" earn NCAA Division I All-American honors.
During an undefeated eight-fight stretch, Erikson defeated Gary Goodridge and former UFC champion Kevin Randleman along the way, though he later succumbed to a career-worst 2-4 run that saw him exit the sport in 2008.
A staple of the Japanese circuit for many years, Heath Herring first came to prominence when the Texan earned a victory over future UFC champion Evan Tanner in 1997, later transitioning to the Pride circuit, where he eventually vied for the promotion's heavyweight title.
Unsuccessful in his bid to the claim the belt opposite of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Herring would remain a top contender in the organization with victories over Igor Vovchanchyn, Mark Kerr and Gan McGee anchoring his résumé.
Once in the UFC, Herring went 2-3, though he earned key victories over The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 finalist Brad Imes and perennial contender Cheick Kongo.
The Olympic silver medalist has had a rich and colorful career in the sport.
A natural middleweight, Lindland has welcomed challenges in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, tangling with some of the best fighters on the planet.
Lindland opened up his MMA career with an undefeated 7-0 stretch where he defeated the likes of Ricardo Almeida, Phil Baroni and former UFC champion Pat Miletich along the way.
"The Law" was at one point widely considered the second-best fighter in the middleweight class, though his career as of late has seen the Team Quest fighter suffer devastating losses at the hands of Vitor Belfort and Robbie Lawler, who both knocked out Lindland in just seconds.
Arguably Japan's favorite son, Kazushi Sakuraba has vied for many a title throughout his career but has come up short on each occasion.
One thing they can never take away from the withering submission wrestler is that the man has fought the best fighters in the world spanning several different weight classes.
Victories over former UFC champions Vitor Belfort, Quinton Jackson, Ken Shamrock, Kevin Randleman and Carlos Newton anchor the résumé of Sakuraba, who is now riding a career-worst four-fight skid.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
A perennial fixture in the light heavyweight class, "Lil Nog" first cultivated his career overseas, where he competed under the Pride banner with brother Antonio Rodrigo.
Nogueira owns victories over Guy Mezger, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Vladimir Matyushenko and Dan Henderson and has twice defeated Alistair Overeem, who has since become a top contender in the heavyweight class.
Recently, the Brazilian was riding a career-worst two-fight skid, though he bounced back with an emphatic TKO victory over former UFC champion Tito Ortiz last December.
One of the best submission specialists to enter the sport, Dennis Hallman first entered the mixed martial arts world in 1996 and has remained a viable figure in the sport.
To date, Hallman is one of only three men, besides Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn, to hold two decisive victories over UFC Hall of Famer and former champion Matt Hughes, submitting the welterweight great twice in a combined 37 seconds.
Notable wins over Karo Parisyan, Ben Saunders and John Makdessi anchor his accolades, which have now seen "Superman" drop back down to the lightweight division, where he figures to be a budding contender.
A fixture of the Shooto scene, Sato is one of the pioneers of the lighter weight classes.
Debuting as early as 1994, Sato opened up his career undefeated in 12 fights and has competed in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions, where he notched victories over John Lewis, Rafael Cordeiro and Yves Edwards.
Sato has vied for the Shooto title four times and has been unsuccessful at each attempt.
A Season 1 finalist on The Ultimate Fighter, Stephan Bonnar has only recently emerged as a contender in the light heavyweight class after spending over 10 years in the sport as a professional.
Training under the late and great Carlson Gracie, Bonnar is a touted submission specialist but is more known for his gutsy and often bloody performances, specifically his legendary battle with Forrest Griffin at the first-ever TUF Finale.
Bonnar is currently riding a three-fight win streak with victories over Krzysztof Soszynski, Igor Pokrajac and Kyle Kingsbury.
Once recognized as the uncrowned king of the lightweight division, Edwards is a pioneer of the division and has consistently battled against some of the best that the weight class has had to offer.
Though he's produced many flashy and incredible finishes throughout his career, Edwards will always be remembered for his particularly decisive knockout victory over former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson, countering a spinning back fist from the AKA fighter with a head-kick knockout.
Victories over UFC veterans Hermes Franca, Pete Spratt, Aaron Riley, Dokonjonosuke Mishima, Derrick Noble, John Gunderson and Cody McKenzie anchor Edwards' career highlights.
A legendary fighter hailing from Japan, Genki Sudo had a captivating energy that enthralled all who witnessed his technical prowess and fan-friendly fighting style.
Victories over Eric Esch, Royler Gracie, Damacio Page, Nate Marquardt and former WEC champion Mike Brown anchor the impressive résumé of Sudo, who retired from the sport in 2006 after having won eight of his last nine outings in MMA.
Benavidez suffers from the same ailment as Jon Fitch.
He's good enough to be the second-best fighter in the bantamweight class, though he was since shunned for another opportunity at the belt.
Unlike Fitch, however, Benavidez is one of the more exciting fighters in the sport and owns impressive victories over Jeff Curran, Rani Yahya, Wagnney Fabiano and former champions Miguel Torres and Eddie Wineland.
The lone two losses of his career have come at the hands of 135-pound kingpin Dominick Cruz, which prompted the move for Benavidez to join the flyweight class, where he has been seeded into a four-man tournament that will determine the first-ever UFC 125-pound champion.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 finalist Kenny Florian first opened up his UFC career as a middleweight and has ventured as low as featherweight in a constant search to become champion.
Victories over Alex Karalexis, Kit Cope and Sam Stout earned Florian a shot at the vacant 155-pound belt in 2006, where Sean Sherk dominated the submission whiz from start to finish, taking home the decision win.
After compiling a six-fight win streak that included victories over Joe Lauzon, Din Thomas, Roger Huerta and Joe Stevenson, Florian earned his second shot at lightweight gold when he took on then-champion BJ Penn, who rocked the Massachusetts native on several occasions before submitting him with a fourth-round rear-naked choke.
Eventually, Florian made his way to the featherweight class, where he defeated Diego Nunes upon his debut in the division, opening up the door to a shot at 145-pound great Jose Aldo, who defended his UFC title with a clear-cut decision win over "Ken-Flo."
Once considered the No. 2 welterweight fighter in the world, Fitch has utilized his dominant wrestling prowess to best even the most talented of fighters.
The AKA fighters owns victories over Paulo Thiago, Ben Saunders, Mike Pierce, Diego Sanchez, Akihiro Gono and Thiago Alves (twice).
Fitch was creeping up on another shot at welterweight gold recently when he took on the unheralded Johny Hendricks, who upset Fitch with a stunning 12-second knockout, which sent Fitch plummeting from the top of the division.